At the Particular Voices blog, Sam Renihan gives us some background on Thomas Collier, a “Particular Baptist gone wrong.” While unfortunately holding to some heretical views, Collier’s writings on covenant theology reflected the same atmosphere and arguments of the seventeenth century Particular Baptist tradition in which he was surrounded.
Given these factors, why post something from him on covenant theology? Well, the true paradox of Collier’s life and theology is that at times he seemed to be the picture of Particular Baptist orthodoxy, and at times he was as far from that as could be. In fact, there was evidence to the Particular Baptists that at times he had repudiated his heresies. But in the long run, that did not prove to be the case. In light of this intriguing historical background presented in snapshot form, the following excerpts from one of his 1659 works are to be taken as another piece of a larger whole. They provide more perspective and information for the portrait of Particular Baptists and their articulation of covenant theology. Indeed this work very much represents the standard Particular Baptist arguments on covenant theology. But he should not be elevated or praised in any way for having hit the mark in this area…
There is no theological denomination or historical portion of Christianity devoid of error and heresy. We must all beware our own hearts and examine ourselves and our theology in light of the word of God. We ought also to be humble and subject to the iron-sharpening of our brothers and reject a Maverick approach to theology. Collier may have got these portions right, but to all human judgments his soul was lost. The fact that he published his own confession of faith and rejected the confession of “upwards of 100 baptized congregations” is telling evidence of his own heart. Let us not be so individualistic or prideful as Collier, lest we too follow our own sinful hearts down the paths they would love to tread. Let this be a double lesson to all of us, first to be humble and circumspect in the light of the scriptures and the corrections of our brothers, and second, to articulate covenant theology faithfully so that our practices are built on sound doctrines.
You can read this interesting historical-theological post here.